The Gospel Observer (April 8, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (8) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Dan7_13-14

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Bible Prophecy (8)
Tom Edwards

Last week we considered in prophecies and their fulfillments of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was by the power of that resurrection that He was “declared the Son of God” (Rom. 1:4).

In Acts 1:3, Luke speaks of that time between the Lord’s resurrection and His ascension, by saying, “To these [the apostles] He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”

The Greek word in this verse for “convincing proofs,” which Liddell & Scott defines as “a sure sign or token,” is worded in the King James Version as “infallible proofs.”

During that 40-day period, Jesus not only appeared to the apostles, but also to many others — even “to more than five hundred brethren at one time” — and “most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6).  So that means that when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus, about A.D. 55, there were still many of those witnesses who could testify toward having seen the resurrected Christ for themselves, about 22 years prior.

Following that 40-day period, Jesus then ascended back into heaven; and Luke goes on to write of this in Acts 1:9-11: “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.  They also said, ’Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’”

The ascension is also spoken of in the accounts of Mark and Luke.  Mark writes: “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).  Luke words it as follows: “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:50-53).

Christ also spoke of His ascension.  After He arose from the dead, He told Mary Magdalene, who was apparently overjoyed in seeing Him alive, to “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (Jn. 20:17).

Prophecy of the Lord’s ascension is also seen way back in the book of Daniel, who lived several centuries prior to that marvelous event. Daniel declares in Daniel 7:13-14:

“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.”

Notice the three things given to Him at that time: 1) dominion, 2) glory, and 3) a kingdom.  So all of this was received when Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven.

Many folks are still awaiting God’s kingdom. But it came in Acts 2 when the church was established.  So Christians are in that kingdom now, and which has been around for about 1,985 years!  This is also seen in Colossians 1:13, where Paul told the brethren that God “…delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”  The Colossian letter was written about A.D. 60 to 62.  And, of course, since Christ right now is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), how could that be so — if He had no kingdom to rule over?

Going  back to Daniel 7:13, we note, too, that Jesus was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom “That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.”  So if He has not yet received that, then how could individuals of every nation serve Him?  Would we not then have to all wait until that kingdom comes?

But being in the kingdom is also what the apostle John acknowledged in Revelation 1:9: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus…”  And being a fellow partaker of the kingdom is also true of every Christian.  Therefore, as the Hebrew writer exhorts in Hebrew 12:28, “We should be grateful that we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect” (CEV).  Or as the English Standard Version words that last part, “…and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”

The psalmist also speaks of the Lord’s ascension in Psalm 66:18:

“You have ascended on high,
You have led captive Your captives;
You have received gifts among men…”

Where we find this cited in the New Testament, there is a slight change of the Lord giving gifts, rather than receiving them.   But in the NT context, the gifts Christ gave were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:7-12).  And wouldn’t all these also be “gifts” He had received from the Father to, in turn, give?  For of the apostles, Jesus says, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word” (Jn. 17:6).  And not only the apostles, but the Lord also speaks of His “sheep” as those whom His Father “has given” to Him (Jn. 10:29).

Jesus is now at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1).  Stephen, while being stoned to death by an angry mob, saw him there (Acts 7:55).  And from heaven, Jesus is not only ruling over the church, but over all, with the exception of God the Father (cf. Eph.  1:20-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:23-28).  Peter writes of Jesus as having “gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (1 Pet. 3:22).  And Paul shows that the Lord “ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10).

That the Lord ascended for this coronation is also seen in comparing certain Bible passages.  For instance:

“The LORD says to my Lord:
‘Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.
The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies’” (Psa. 110:1-2).

Then, in Hebrew 10:11-13: “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.”

Jesus also cited Psalm 110:1 when questioning the Pharisees.  He asked, “’What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’  They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call him “Lord,” saying, “THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET’”’? If David then calls Him, ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Matt. 22:42-45).

Though we read in Acts 1:11 of the angels who had said to the apostles that “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” yet Christ will not be setting foot on earth again.  Rather, when He returns, it will be to meet Him in the air, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.   For He will return on the “last day” (Jn. 6:39-40, 44, 54; Jn. 12:48).   After which the universe and time itself shall be no more (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12).

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

Shirley Davis continues to have pain in her knees — and especially her left knee.  The discomfort in her shoulder, from a fall she had about a year ago, is also still there.  She keeps up with her physical therapy at home, but it is difficult.  Surgery for her knee has still not been scheduled.  She will be seeing her doctor April 25, however, to determine if she is yet ready for it or not.

Deborah Medlock has not been feeling well.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Charles Crosby, Jim Lively, Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:1-2, NASB).
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (April 1, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (7) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Acts2_31d

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Bible Prophecy (7)
Tom Edwards

Last week’s installment centered around prophecies pertaining to the crucifixion and death of Christ.  Today’s article will focus on His resurrection.

David declares in Psalm 16:8-10 the following:

“I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

If you have read the book of Acts, then you probably find this previous passage familiar.  For it was cited by Peter on the day that the church was established.  Notice Acts 2:22-27: “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.”

Peter also shows that because David “was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY” (Acts 2:30-31; See also 2 Sam. 7:12-16 and Luke 1:30-33).  So Jesus was raised from the dead for that as well, and “exalted to the right hand of God.”  For “God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:29, 36).

That Jesus would be raised from the dead is also seen in Acts 13:34, but first let us see another prophecy concerning this in Psalm 2.  The psalmist writes:

“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain” (v. 6).
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ’You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You
.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession’” (vv. 7-8).

Going back to Acts 13, we now see that the thought of God begetting Jesus is actually referring to His resurrection — rather than being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary.  Luke writes: “And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ’YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ’I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ’YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY’” (Acts 13:23-35).

Numerous passages throughout the New Testament speak of the Lord’s resurrection.  In selecting an apostle to take Judas’ place, one of the qualifications was to have been a witness of the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 1:22).  Peter, in speaking of himself and the other apostles, testified that “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32).  That God raised Jesus from the dead is seen in Acts 3:5, 4:10; 10:40; and 13:30.  In doing a search for “resurrection” and “raised dead” in a computer Bible, I came across 31 passages in the New Testament that speak of the Lord having been resurrected — and that is not all of them.

The resurrection of Christ was a main theme in the preaching of the apostles.   For they were to be His witnesses of that (Acts 4:33; Acts 10:38-43).  Paul had also testified toward the Lord’s resurrection when in Athens (Acts 17:3, 18, 31), when before King Agrippa (Acts 26:23), in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:14), and elsewhere.

Jesus was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…” (Rom. 1:4).

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, those who are spiritually dead in sin can be raised to a spiritual life, after submitting to God’s plan of salvation.  As Paul explains, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).

From this passage, we see that it is  baptism — and not merely belief in Christ only, nor belief in Christ and repentance only — that is that last step by which we receive the “newness of life.” For baptism puts us “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).  As Paul writes in Colossians 2:12, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Baptism is the “in which” we are raised up from in order to be “raised up with Christ” (Col. 3:1).

Paul also wrote of that to the Ephesians: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-2,5).  Compare also Colossians 2:13.

Notice, too, that when we compare Romans 6:3-4, in which baptism is part of how one acquires the “newness of life,” with the above passage in Ephesians 2, we can conclude that even in being baptized, it is also still a part of God’s grace — rather than some type of meritorious work through which salvation could be deserved or earned.  For we are saved by grace — which certainly does not nullify the need to hear God’s word (Rom. 10:17), believe in Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Consider also Colossians 3:1: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”  This, again, reminds us of Romans 6:3-4 which speaks of the new life we have in Christ when coming up out of the water of baptism.

But also because of the Lord’s resurrection, all the literal dead, down through the ages, will also be physically resurrected.  For “if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised… For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised” (1 Cor. 15:13,16). The implication is: since Christ was raised, the dead will also be raised.

This is also seen in John 5, where Jesus says, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (vv. 28-29).

This is talking of a physical resurrection. For the “Do not marvel at this” is pointing back to the spiritual resurrection spoken of in verses 24-25: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”  So when Jesus goes on to say, “Do not marvel at this,” He then continues with another type of resurrection that might require more faith to accept — and that is a physical resurrection.  Notice, too, that the physical resurrection is not limited to only the saved.  For the lost will be raised as well.  Everyone.  This is one of the reasons why it is so important to make our souls ready by accepting God’s way of salvation while we now have the time to do so.

When Jesus says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:30), He is not talking about a spiritual resurrection; but, rather, a physical one. For He was answering the question the Sadducees had asked concerning a woman who had become a widow 7 times by 7 brothers.  Since they had each died, the question was, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be?” (v. 28).  The Sadducees, of course, “say there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit” (Acts 23:8); so they were simply trying to entrap the Lord with their question.  But the point I want to emphasize from this is that there will be a physical resurrection.  For if Matthew 22:30 is speaking of just a spiritual resurrection (in which the sinner has become a saint by being born again and having that new life as a Christian in Christ), then it is while on earth that Christians “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  But who would think that — especially in view of all the Bible passages, such as Ephesians 5:22-33, that give instruction for husbands and wives.

Martha, whose brother had been physically dead for four days, knew that he would “rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (Jn. 11:24).   And Jesus, who referred to Himself as “the resurrection and the life” (v. 35), merely gave the command, “Lazarus, come forth” (v. 43) — and it was so!

To be ready for that physical resurrection in the last day, we must first undergo that spiritual resurrection by submitting to the gospel plan of salvation, which includes the need to hear the gospel, to believe in the Deity of Christ, to repent of sins, to acknowledge faith in Christ, and to be baptized for the remission of sins.  We are then to also follow through in maintaining that new life in Christ.  For Jesus died for us that we might live for Him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15).

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated; and all underlining for emphasis mine.)
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News & Notes

Jim Lively was able to have a small growth on the top of his head “frozen” with liquid nitrogen instead of having any more cut away. He will now not have to return for about six months for a checkup on it.

Deborah Medlock has not been well lately.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Charles Crosby, Doyle Rittenhouse, Shirley Davis, Frankie Hadley, Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 
7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)